Read: Isaiah 55:12-13 and Isaiah 58:6-11
What is the point of Christianity?
If you responded to this question with something along the lines of, “To go to heaven when I die,” then you are only partially correct. In fact, that response falls so far short, it is misleading at best and heretical at worst.
In a chapter called, “New Creation, Starting Now,” N.T. Wright suggests that “it’s time we rubbed our eyes and read our texts again” (Simply Christian, 2006, p.219). God’s agenda, according to those biblical texts, is much more sweeping than the salvation of individual souls. Wright summarizes it this way: “The New Testament picks up from the Old the theme that God intends, in the end, to put the whole creation to rights. Earth and heaven were made to overlap with one another, not fitfully, mysteriously, and partially as they do at the moment, but completely, gloriously and utterly” (p. 217).
I thought of Wright’s reminder last week while singing a beautiful Advent hymn by Mary Louise Bringle, “Light Dawns on a Weary World.” The refrain echoes Isaiah 55:12-13:
The trees shall clap their hands; the dry lands gush with springs;
The hills and mountains shall break forth with singing!
We shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace,
As all the world in wonder echoes shalom.
When Christ’s light dawns fully on this weary world, the whole creation will have reason to rejoice. In other words: it’s not just about us!
On the other hand, it is partly about us, and if we are appropriately grateful, we should say so. How? By joining in the work God is already doing to bring about the restoration of all creation. The verses of Bringle’s hymn—reflecting passages like Isaiah 58—do a lovely job of suggesting where to start.
Light dawns on a weary world when eyes begin to see all people’s dignity.
Light dawns on a weary world: the promised day of justice comes.
Love grows in a weary world when hungry hearts find bread and children’s dreams are fed.
Love grows in a weary world: the promised feast of plenty comes.
Hope blooms in a weary world when creatures, once forlorn, find wilderness reborn.
Hope blooms in a weary world: the promised green of Eden comes.
Our world is weary. But hear the good news: In Jesus Christ—light dawns, love grows, and hope blooms for us and for all creation.
Prayer: Thank you for the gift and the promise of Jesus Christ. As we celebrate his coming and anticipate his coming again, help us to join you in the work you are doing on behalf of our weary world. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.